This book is an amazing piece of literature. I will admit that it took me a while to get into but I think that says more about my brain these days than the narrative. Things that are heavy are harder for my brain to lift than things that I know have a happy ending – and maybe a bit of romance. There is a place for happy endings and romance and I enjoy both, but I need my brain to do the heavy lifting sometimes so I know I haven’t lost myself completely.
I spent two weeks reading it in fits and starts – only being able to get so far before I would feel overwhelmed by what was going on and have to put it down. And then I spent one night devouring the second half of it and ignoring everyone around me. As soon as I finished I debated starting it again but I’m not sure I am ready to immerse myself in all the feelings it provokes just yet.
I’m pretty sure I have said this on this blog before but sometimes when a book is so good it is hard to review. I want to tell you all about the book but I don’t want to tell you anything that happens in it. Except I want to tell you EVERYTHING that happens. So I guess what I am really saying is that you need to go and read this book right now.
In 1976 Peggy Hillcoat is eight. She spends her summer camping with her father, playing her beloved record of The Railway Children, and listening to her mother’s grand piano. But her life is about to change.
Her survivalist father, who has been stockpiling provisions to prepare for the end of the world, takes her from London to a cabin in a remote European forest. There he tells Peggy the rest of the world has disappeared. She is not see again for another nine years. In 1985, Peggy has returned to the family home. But what happened to her in the forest? And why – and how – has she come back now?
Except Peggy doesn’t just return to the family home – she returns to the world. A world she thought was lost for ever. Peggy is eight when her father takes her and tells her that they are the only two people left on the earth. As her father slowly loses his grip with reality you have to wonder just how and if those two are going to survive. It is a quiet novel with an under current of terror running through out. Not jump out of your seat terror but a terror of the unknown as the narrative jumps from past to present slowly unearthing exactly what happened to Peggy and her father.